Researchers have provided the first evidence of silica condensation in the early Solar System. The oldest solid material yet dated from the Solar System’s formation comes from carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. These materials provide an important record of how and when our system formed. By examining grains of material in these meteorites, scientists are able to gather information about the conditions, such as temperature, that they experienced during their formation and evolution. A new study of the Yamato-793261 meteorite provides evidence that silica condensed from gas in the early Solar System, and may help explain astronomical observations of silica around some young stars.

The study, “First evidence for silica condensation within the solar protoplanetary disk,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). This work was supported by the Emerging Worlds Program. The NASA Astrobiology Program provides resources for Emerging Worlds and other Research and Analysis programs within the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) that solicit proposals relevant to astrobiology research.